SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 148: “Always Smile… And Always Carry Chopsticks”

If the healing warmth of daylight could manifest itself in human form, I’ve touched the sun and felt no pain. Light is the greatest acronym that bursts to my mind in telling you of Mischa, my ever so sweet friend of the day.

Her smiling energy is Radiance personified, and in meeting her I know that she is on the planet for a reason. Passionate and peaceful is she, and when she speaks, real magic happens.

I meet Mischa in no spectacular way, simply run into her as I am loading my equipment in concluding two days of portrait shooting. At first she is the third party to a conversation I’m having with another friend I met yesterday, and that friend not comfortable to be photographed, introduces us.

“I’ll do it; sounds like a great project,” Mischa is in.

The second she accepts I literally feel a physical warmth. Now coming from a background of being a shy youth, I know what embarrassment is, and that is definitely not the sensation I’m experiencing.

What I am experiencing is the solar like fall off from of Mischa’s positive outlook on life. “Never expect anything,” she says.

Some may interpret a statement like that as dismissive and isolating. A let me do it my way and leave me alone posturing. But that is so not the case in Mischa’s definition. “You can put out any kind of goodness, but as you do, don’t expect it back. Just give with no agenda. Do the best you can to at least extend the common courtesies.”

It is very difficult to capture the joy of Mischa in words or picture. I just ask you to trust me as I let you know of her.

Mischa works in a high-stress career, the digital marketing manager for a very high public relations company. As we talk, I am acutely aware of her responsibilities in respecting her time. I time check as we hang out. “No worries,” she tells me, “I’m here until at least ten tonight. It will all get done. We’re OK.”

What is important to Mischa at this moment in time is contributing to 365, and it is apparent that her words are not dead; she compassionately puts her actions behind them.

“I like what I do!” she tells me. “That’s my corporate side, and I hope to be one of the people who is part of paving the way, defining and laying down the foundation of digital marketing.”

I ask Mischa of her general thoughts regarding social media.

“Really, there is so much development going on that the term social media has actually expired. You hear it every day, but what does it mean?

“There really is no name for it; it is an enigma of information, and everything is at your fingertips. It’s going to be very interesting to see where we go with it.

“I’m riding the digital wave!” Mischa cheerfully stands, but in doing so, offers us a word of warning. A warning we have to wholly respect coming from someone who is towards the helm in developing tomorrow’s messaging methods and technology.

“Social Media is here to stay; it has its place in the world and is a great resource for information. But always try to be more personally connected than to be digitally connected. You can have 1000 friends on Facebook, but you have a handful of friends at your wedding.”

Her point is impactful. I see it every day in the conversations and content that appears on my wall. Some is relevant and connecting, while much is, and I am sorry to say, addicted and isolated. I’m talking about those who are truly living their lives through the digital experience. Giving loss to the humanity of face-to-face, or even ear-to-ear, human interaction.

I will not argue the fact that the future of communication is racing forward toward new and exciting frontiers. If it were not here, you and I would not be having this dialogue, and my hope is that it’s a good thing.

Mischa talks of her education and the future: “When I graduated college most of the text books were all on iPads. I’m sure, when I have kids, my children will have more than that. Who knows? Maybe hologram teachers.

“There will be more technology and hopefully far less pollution – not that I drive a Prius or something.”

Mischa is a grounded people person, very uplifting to hear her wisdom and understanding of the balance between the digital and real world. She is a beacon for reaching out, a messenger of sorts in looking far beyond herself with no expectations.

“I like my job” she tells me. But standing with her I can tell that she likes herself and, better yet, likes the world around her. I got that message in the warmth of her first hello.

“I’d like to travel around the world at least twice and ultimately have a surf shop on some remote island… like Bali. Hopefully, by that time I would have learned to swing dance.”

Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, “Mischa has a great sense of humor.”

And with that she leaves us this: “Always smile… and always carry chopsticks.”

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